Deep Ball Fever

Case Keenum turns Andre Johnson into a touchdown machine: What a difference a QB makes

Case Keenum turns Andre Johnson into TD machine: The QB difference

Andre Johnson Texans Colts TD
Andre Johnson went touchdown crazy on Sunday Night Football. Photo by Michelle Watson/CultureMap Snap
Case Keenum Colts Texans
Case Keenum brought back the vertical passing game. Photo by Michelle Watson/CultureMap Snap
Andre Johnson Texans Colts celebrate
Andre Johnson has reason to touchdown — and quarterback — celebrate. Photo by Michelle Watson/CultureMap Snap
Andre Johnson Texans Colts TD
Case Keenum Colts Texans
Andre Johnson Texans Colts celebrate

By the third time, Case Keenum just throws it up, knowing full well that Andre Johnson will make the damn play. There's not much separation between Johnson and Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis when Keenum releases the football.

No matter. By the time the ball gets there, Johnson's twisted Davis into a pretzel. The cornerback's falling over even before the all-time greatest Houston Texan is cradling the football.

 Keenum completes three passes of 30 or more yards in the first half. All three go to No. 80. 

This is touchdown No. 3 for Andre Johnson in the first half of Sunday Night Football. This after a streak of nine straight games in which the Texans' most dangerous receiver didn't catch a single touchdown pass. Of course, all but one of those nine games came with Matt Schaub at quarterback.

With Keenum making the first Reliant Stadium start of his career on the big Sunday Night national TV stage, the Texans attack the field deep with Johnson. Off a play-action fake, Keenum hits Johnson in stride for a 62-yard touchdown on the third offensive play of the game. This is part of the difference with Case Keenum at quarterback.

The vertical game is back in play.

Keenum completes three passes of 30 or more yards in the first half. All three go to No. 80. Four of Keenum's first five completions go to Johnson. And account for a whopping 137 yards.

It turns out that one of the best receivers in the game is being revitalized by Case Keenum too.

When Johnson goes up and twists around Davis with 2:56 left in the first half, he has his third touchdown. The Texans are up 21-3 over the AFC South leader.

The last time Andre Johnson had two touchdowns in a half, Schaub was mounting a fierce comeback against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. One that ended with an overtime interception. That was back in December of 2010.

After each touchdown pass, Keenum pumps his fist with all the exaggerated motion of a young Tiger Woods. It's good to have a quarterback with some life.